Put the tourists of Trinidad in a room and you’ll have an awkward party: on one side will be wallflower bird-watchers tangled in camera and binocular straps; and on the other – the side with the bar – you’ll have the party-hound Carnival fans turning up the music and trying on their spangly costumes.
But here’s the secret: there’s much more to Trinidad than is seen through binoculars or beer goggles. Of course, the swamps and forests are a bird-watcher’s dream, and Port of Spain’s Carnival will blow your mind. Yet Trinidad is also laden with verdant hiking and cycling trails to spectacular waterfalls and deserted bays. The rural, untouristed northeast coast harbors rugged beaches of shocking beauty, while the southwest showcases the island’s Indian culture, with fragrant curry wafting through the air and flamboyant temples popping up out of nowhere.
With the booming oil and gas industry as its real bread and butter, Trinidad tends to treat tourists in a blasé manner. And to some visitors that’s a boon. Genuine adventure awaits you here if you choose to accept.
Shaped like a molar tooth sitting on its side, Trinidad is surrounded by four bodies of water – the Caribbean (north), Atlantic Ocean (east), Gulf of Paria (west) and the Columbus Channel (south) – making each coast a little different. The bustling capital of Port of Spain sits along a wide bay on the Gulf, and most of the country’s better-known attractions are within an hour’s drive. In fact, you could drive from one side of the country to the other in less than three hours, maybe less if you’re a pro at bumpy, winding roads.
Trinidad destination guides
Trinidad Carnival: a guide to party-time in Port-of-Spain
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet's A Year of Festivals.
Trinidad Highlights and Scenic Drive
The main destination of this sightseeing tour is Maracas Beach, the most popular beach in northern Trinidad. After a quick exploration of Port of Spain, you'll journey via the Saddle Road to this beautiful getaway. Magnificent views await you on this 3.5 hour journey. Visit Trinidad's highlights on this comprehensive, half-day guided tour.
Island Circle Tour
Heading south out of Port of Spain and down the west coast, your circle island journey begins. You'll see the spectacular scenery of places such as the Gulf of Paris, Mayaro Beach, and Manzanilla. You will also visit the town of San Fernando, the second largest city of Trinidad.
Lapping it up around the world
Soup: a warming staple the world over – but who knew there were so many fine flavours? The ten below are our picks for the finest soups to slurp worldwide. 1. Pho, Hanoi, Vietnam Beef noodle soup for breakfast? Once youʼve tasted a good pho, youʼll crave it for lunch and dinner, too.